The Dow Chemical Company and The University of Queensland have unveiled a strategic partnership that will establish the Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation.

Funded through a Dow contribution worth $10 million over the next six years, the newl Centre will pursue a program of research and collaboration aimed at harnessing solutions to the sustainability challenges of the 21st Century.

“This is a lighthouse initiative - hot-housing innovation at the urban energy, water and carbon nexus, which will attract international attention to the issues of sustainability and position Dow and UQ as leaders, achievers and contributors to society,” Dow Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Liveris said.

The University of Wollongong and BlueScope Steel have joined forces with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute, one of the world’s leading renewable energy and sustainable building research organisations, in a new solar technology research and demonstration project with the support of $477,000 from the Australian Solar Institute.

The New Zealand Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, has announced a broad investigation into hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The Victorian Government has announced $1.6 million in funding for a cutting-edge hydro-electricity project that uses a Victorian-developed technology to harness kinetic energy in open water flow to generate power.

Around 3,500 miners at BHP’s central Queensland mines have walked off the job after enterprise bargaining talks broke down last Wednesday.

The Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW (LGSA) has discussed concerns over the impacts on coal mining and coal seam gas extraction on local communities at a meeting of 13 northern NSW councils.

The Victorian Government has announced it will provide $1 million in funding for the development of an ‘ultra efficient solar power system’.

The Victorian Government has announced it has scrapped its Labor predecessor’s carbon reduction target after an independent review found that keeping the state-backed target jeopodised the state’s growth.

Legislation amending the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act)to establish an Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development has been referred for inquiry to the Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications.

The South Australian Government has signed up to the Federal Government’s National Partnership Agreement on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining agreement, becoming the third state to agree to ‘tougher regulations for future coal seam gas and large coal mining projects’.

Australians are paying more and more for electricity, with the country already facing one of the highest prices in the developed world, according to the Australian Electricity Prices: an International Comparison.

A study by the Colorado School of public health has shown that pollution caused by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, may contribute to acute and chronic health problems for those living near natural gas drilling sites.

The Australian energy Market Operator (AEMO) has released findings that that a changing economic landscape, a more energy-conscious public, the impact of rooftop solar photovoltaic installations and milder weather have all contributed to lower than forecast electricity demand across eastern and south eastern Australia.

A report published by the Climate Institute shows Australia is more dependent on high polluting technology than it was two decades ago, with the country being the only G20 member nation to go backwards on its low-carbon competitiveness since 1995 according to the Global Climate Leadership Review 2012.

Data centre operator NEXTDC has announced it will construct what will become the country’s largest private-owned rooftop photovoltaic solar system at its Port Melbourne data centre, known as “M1”

he New South Wales Government has announced plans to merge the state’s three energy providers, Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and Essential Energy, into one single group.

The Financial Services sector is quickly becoming one of the key backers of the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) according to a new study released by Deloitte.

The Australian Government has awarded a $1.9 million grant to National ICT Australia (NICTA) Ltd's  $5 million project to provide enhanced data for targeted geothermal exploration as part of the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE) Emerging Renewables Program.

Researchers from The University of Queensland (UQ) and Korea have combined their expertise in polymer patterning and materials science in a bid to develop new-generation solar cells.

UQ's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) Director, Professor Peter Gray, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea.

It will allow AIBN Professor Ajayan Vinu's research group to work closely with Yonsei Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Professor Eunkyoung Kim, and School of Advanced Materials Science and Engineering, Professor Cheolmin Park.

Professor Vinu said the collaboration would encourage “the creation of new science and new products”, including efforts to improve the efficiency of solar cells.

He said AIBN would bring expertise in materials science, particularly Prof Vinu's work on and porous semiconducting and bio-nanomaterials.

Yonsei researchers would match this expertise with their knowledge of polymer patterning and fabrication.

“We can't all be experts in every field. That is why we are collaborating with these experts in this field,” Professor Vinu said.

“We have expertise in the fabrication of porous functionalised semiconducting nanostructures that will maximise quantum efficiency of dye sensitized or organic solar cells, while the Yonsei researchers have know-how in designing the various types of solar cell device.

“The fusion of materials development and device fabrication can help us to achieve a new solar cell technology or product with a low cost, which is going to make a huge revolution in the solar industry.”

Beyond collaborating on research, the bond between AIBN and Yonsei includes joint conferences, student exchanges and plans for a joint lab in Korea.

AIBN will host the third joint International Conference on Emerging and Advanced Nanomaterials in Brisbane from October 22-25.

The institute has welcomed visiting Korean student Sehwan Kim to the Vinu research group for a three-month internship.

The institutes also had a collaboration with the National Institute for Materials Science – the number one materials institute in Japan.

Sydney has been chosen as the location for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The value of Australia’s resources and energy exports in 2011 increased by 15 per cent from the previous year to a record $190 billion, according to the Resources and Energy Statistics December quarter 2011 report released today by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE).

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